Observation Notes: Educational Tech

by Mynn Kitchen for ED222

About My Observation Site

I went and observed at Northwest High School in a US History II class taught by Mr. Paul Kitchen. I thoroughly enjoyed going to Northwest and would recommend this school for observation in the Wichita, KS area. The students there are being trained to think critically and teachers are utilizing different and innovative ways of teaching to help them reach goals and to think outside of themselves and look at the world around them.
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My Observations

  1. What types of technology were the K-12 students using throughout your field experience observation? The students utilized a SMARTboard, their phones, and iPods as part of my observations.
  2. Did students appear to be more or less engaged in the lesson content while using technology? Most students were engaged and using technology appropriately while using technology to help them with classwork. Because this was a High School setting, there were students who were trying to use technology inappropriately, but the teacher did a good job of addressing these issues.
  3. What was the teacher doing while the students used the technology? The teacher walked around the room and helped those students who were struggling, addressed minor classroom issues, and asked those who seemed ok to explain what they were learning.
  4. What pros and cons did you observe related to the use of technology in the classroom? One obvious pro to the use of technology was the fact that heavy text books did not need to be used. They were available in the classroom, but technology made these items a little less useful and I'm sure that backpacks are much lighter. The focus in this class is history and investigating different texts to make a personal conclusion about historical events. The use of technology immediately brings more historical documents to students' fingertips. Some cons include the fact that not all students will utilize technology effectively and appropriately. It also lessens interpersonal interactions, which I feel are very important since we live in a world filled with other people. Even as students were paired off, there was very little discussion.
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Instructor Responses

Below are questions that I asked Mr. Kitchen regarding use of technology in the classroom and his responses.

  1. What are the benefits to students using technology in the classroom? According to Mr. Kitchen, the biggest benefit of students using technology in the classroom is the fact that it is an opportunity to use the technology appropriately. Adults today use technology all the time in their work. Using it in the classroom helps teach students that technology is a good thing, when used appropriately.
  2. What are the disadvantages for student use of technology? The three disadvantages for student us of technology that Mr. Kitchen sited are that it can be a distraction, that there are security risks, and that there are privacy issues that the school must adhere to that some students do not see as important. This all goes back to teaching appropriate use.
  3. What is your favorite classroom technology? Why? Mr. Kitchen's favorite technology in his classroom is his projector because of all the things he can do with it. He can project onto the SMARTboard, show movies when appropriate, has it hooked up to his document camera, and his computer. He uses YouTube videos to supplement written materials as well.
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My Conclusion

Although technology does have its pros and cons, I believe that when it is used appropriately, it can enhance the learning experience of students. Because my goal is to become a teacher who works with special needs, and having experience as a para in these classrooms, I have seen first hand what technology can do to help students with these disabilities. I hope to continue to learn about new ways that technology can be used in typical and special education classrooms so that I will be prepared to utilize them in my future teaching career.
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